She sat across from me in the tea house, this new friend. She with her latte and me with my pot of Scottish tea and we began to share our stories. She went first, sharing a journey of faith and fall, grace and redemption, restoration and glory to the God who used it all to bring her to this place in her life. Throughout I nodded and connected with this woman. I shared some of my story and showed her some of the scars I carry from years in professional ministry. She realized I knew; I understood some of the scars she bears from years in public ministry. And I began to share some of the journey that had brought me here.
During this delightful morning we got to know each other on a deep level, each growing in appreciation for the woman across from us as we heard the resonating theme of God’s direction in our lives. Through the highs and lows we were both women who trusted God and sought to share His love in authentic ways in our circles of influence. A friendship was formed this morning over tea and coffee all because of the beautiful power in a story.
I’ve always loved stories. I’m drawn to books and movies and their ability to transport us to wondrous places. I’ve loved sharing my story and listening to the stories of others. Everyone has a story and each is unique. Most stories have pain somewhere as a thread in them. One of my favorite quotes from C.S. Lewis is this: “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Our scars can defeat us or they can stand as badges of honor to the lessons we’ve learned and the restorative power of a God who shouts to get our attention.
Recently I started re-watching the TV series LOST with my eldest son. He is becoming quite the Sci-Fi geek. I’m so proud. When the plane disappeared off Malaysia last month, I told him it was eerily like this show and he asked if he could watch it with me. He’d never seen it. One of the most teachable moments he’s gleaned from this show is that everyone has a story—no one is simply two dimensional. Through the art of the flashback to back-stories of the characters in this show, he has connected that people are complex. You have no idea the journey that has helped create the person standing before you. What a powerful lesson.
I pray that God can use my story to help me connect with people. I pray He uses it to shine the truth of His faithfulness to me and the love He has for this world. I am so thankful that my day began with sharing stories with this delightful new friend and excited we immediately made another date to share more. I want to hear more of her story and share with her more of mine.
Everyone has a story and most are longing for someone to share it with. Listening to each other’s stories creates relationship and connection. When we give our stories to Jesus, He can use them to accomplish amazing things. Jason Gray’s song With Every Act of Love has great lyrics in the bridge: “God put a million million doors in this world for his love to walk through, one of those doors is you.” He uses our stories as those doors.
There is beautiful power in each of our stories when we let God use them.